NASA working on 18-propeller electric plane
Washington: While the world is awestruck at the success of the sun-powered plane called Solar Impulse 2, NASA is working on a more efficient, electric-powered plane that has 18 propellers attached to it.
As part of NASA’s Leading Edge Asynchronous Propellers Technology project (LEAPTech), these 18 small engines sit atop the 31-foot-wide carbon composite wingspan and work together to lift and propel the plane forward.
The propellers are all powered by lithium iron phosphate batteries.
Each propeller can be operated independently at various speeds to optimise power, with all 18 engines providing lift during takeoff, The Verge reported.
These propellers will blow wind directly over the wings to generate lift.
The experimental wing can finally eliminate the advantage jet fuel has over batteries when it comes to keeping planes in the sky.
The US space agency will ground test the wings over the next several months.
During the tests, the wings will be mounted to a modified truck called the Hybrid-Electric Integrated Systems Testbed (HEIST).
The maximum electric-powered reach of the plane would be 370 km per hour.
Once the LEAPTech wing is improved, it can be used to create a new environmentally and economically efficient X-plane, the report added.